Greg Biffle, driver of the No. 16 3M Ford Fusion, is in 10th place in the standings heading into this weekend's race at Bristol. Biffle, has four career top-five finishes at the .533-mile track, met with the media prior to Friday's practice. IN...
Greg Biffle, driver of the No. 16 3M Ford Fusion, is in 10th place in the standings heading into this weekend's race at Bristol. Biffle, has four career top-five finishes at the .533-mile track, met with the media prior to Friday's practice.
IN TERMS OF TRYING TO MAKE THE CHASE, HOW IMPORTANT IS TOMORROW NIGHT'S RACE? "It's really important. None of them are any more important than the others, but we obviously know that Bristol can be one of the race tracks where it can catch up some cars and chain-reaction accidents, things like that. We've always run fairly well here, near the top 10 every time we've been here. Unfortunately, in the spring here, we had an engine failure, which is really weird. Not a lot of people have engine trouble at Bristol, but we did. But we're confident that, obviously, we've got that problem fixed. It was a part issue that we had early in the season with all of the cars. But, I like the race track. I like my opportunity here this weekend, and I really look foreward to this one and a couple more. I know it's all tight right there. We've been talking about it for weeks, and all we can do is do the best we can every week. Running out of gas hurt last week. You know, ran out of gas last week, ironically enough, I made it about 600 feet further, I think, than the first race. So, I was happy about that. A few more races and maybe we'll make it all the way back around to the line. But the difference, I guess, I was running 12th when I ran out instead of leading."
WITH SO MANY DRIVERS SO CLOSE TO MAKING, OR NOT MAKING, THE CHASE, DO YOU PAY MORE ATTENTION TO WHAT OTHER DRIVERS ARE DOING, LESS ATTENTION, OR DO YOU JUST STAY FOCUSED ON YOUR OWN DEAL? "We've watched what the other guys are doing, but we've really stayed focused on our deal. We do the best we can. Like right now, especially, getting our car going. That's the most important -- qualifying good and having a good race. But, certainly, we keep an eye on how's Ryan Newman running, how's Mark Martin running, how's Kyle Busch running? We look at them on the speed chart, we look at them after qualifying. But we don't consume ourselves with what they're doing. And, this is recent, we've started thinking at Watkins Glen and Michigan about staying on the same pit sequence or cycle as those guys, and just beat them on performance, or out-race them. Because if they can pull some strategy and sort of leapfrog you, that could hurt you. But, if you're on the same strategy, you're either going to be bad together or be good together, so sometimes that's come into our thought process, but that situation hasn't really arisen yet, where it's something dramatically different from what everybody's doing. So, those are the kinds of things that you pay attention to. But, when they start breaking up, then you've got to choose something."
EARLIER THIS YEAR A TOYOTA OFFICIAL SAID THAT IF ONE OR TWO OF HIS TEAMS WERE CONTENDING FOR A SPOT IN THE CHASE, TOYOTA WOULD DO EVERYTHING IT COULD TO HELP PROVIDE THE RESEARCH AND HELP GET THEM INTO THE CHASE. WHAT CAN FORD DO OR WHAT HAS FORD DONE FOR YOUR TEAM? AND WHAT CAN A MANUFACTURER DO WITH ONLY THREE RACES BEFORE THE CHASE? "We kind of do that internally, Ford certainly helps us along, but if it's moving personnel around, making sure that you've got the best guys at the shop, you're most prepared, you've got the best crew guys -- so the manufacturer can help just by putting resources around that team. Can you do this? Can you do that? Sometimes it makes it easier for somebody to make a decision to change a guy out even, you've got somebody else to blame it on, so to speak, when you're trying to make your core stronger.
"That support helps and that depth of engineering or whatever they can do. They can't do anything out of the ordinary, because, of course, they'd be doing that already, you know, to make you run better all of the time. It's just the small things that can try and do to try and make that as solid as you can."
DID YOU MAKE ANY CHANGES? "Yeah, we've had one personnel change in Chicago. Our catch-can guy had knee surgery and we were borrowing a guy that dropped the catch can on two stops and got us a lap penalty on the second time around, and really took us out of a decent finish at Chicago. It was a disaster. It was a mistake on our part, originally, probably we didn't do enough research when we got a guy to fill in."
LAST WEEK, DALE EARNHARDT JR. TALKED ABOUT HIS FRUSTRATIONS WITH THIS CAR. WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE DONE THAT WOULDN'T BE A HIGH FINANCIAL FIX? "We talked about that in that get-together. In that meeting we talked about some stuff, and I don't know how far they've gotten on that. One thing that we all know about: We all race in a circle -- it doesn't take a lot to figure that out -- and the more left-side weight, we know the left-side distribution is important in these cars, very important. As racers, we know that. Anything you build, from a go-kart to a quarter midget to a Late Model, anything, left-side weight is very important. It balances the car out. When you go around the corner, centrifugal force or g-force is to the outside. So the more you can stack over here, the better the car handles, typically. I think that's one of the biggest things that we can do is try and move weight to the left of the car, possible offset some suspension components. Right now our suspension is identical on both sides. Length. It wasn't before, it doesn't need to be, it's not interchangeable side to side, so certainly we could do that. We all build all of those components in-house, so it's not like we'd be starting from scratch. I think there's a lot of little things. I don't think it's one thing. We're not going to just, you know, plug something into it and say, 'It's perfect now.' But I think there's small things we can do along the way that are going to add up over time. And I know that they're looking at those."
WHAT CHANGES WOULD YOU MAKE AS YOU GET CLOSER TO THE CHASE? "We're not going to change anything; we're going to continue to race like we have. We're going to do the best we can and try and get good finishes, not take any chances, keep our fenders on the car, and race as hard as we can and get our best finish."
EIGHT OF THE 23 WINS THIS YEAR HAVE BEEN BY DRIVERS WHO ARE CURRENTLY 12TH-15TH IN THE STANDINGS. MARK MARTIN AND KYLE BUSCH HAVE SEVEN OF THOSE. WHAT DOES THAT SAY ABOUT THE WAY THINGS ARE RIGHT NOW? "That organization is really strong, and they've done a good job. There's a lot of guys right on the bubble about making it that have a lot of wins. You know, it's weird -- it's kind of like you pass the hot button to each team. One team's winning races, Carl won nine last year and hasn't won any, and now this guy's winning and that guy's not. It's weird how it works. We're all clawing and scratching to figure it out all the time, to try and see what we're missing. It's a moving target all the time. We're throwing darts at something that's moving back and forth on the wall. Sometimes, you got it perfect, and sometimes you're off that much and you just never hit it."
-credit: ford racing